High School Athlete Carries Brother With Cerebral Palsy 111 Miles to State Capitol
A touching tale of brotherly love is bringing attention to a serious ailment that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Braden Gandee, 9, was born with cerebral palsy, which can make everyday tasks as simple as walking feel like a struggle.
That's why his 16-year-old big brother, Hunter, is doing the walking for him.
Over the last week or so, Hunter and Braden Gandee made their way from their high school in Temperance, Michigan to the state capitol steps 111 miles away in Lansing.
All the while, Braden was strapped to his big brother's back.
The journey began April 20 and was well documented on social media.
"Me and this little man are starting a long journey tomorrow, please keep us in your prayers and come out to walk with us," Hunter, a wrestler who was named Sports Illustrated's 2015 High School Athlete of the Year, wrote prior to the journey.
Over the next five days, Hunter happily hauled his brother 110.5 miles. When they neared the capitol, Braden crossed the finish line on his own with the help of a walker.
While surrounded by family, Hunter says Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and others greeted them.
“It’s hard to take just one moment,” Hunter told the Associated Press when asked to describe a highlight. “A lot of memories were created. To see Braden get to the steps of the Capitol building was just amazing."
While this was the brothers' longest journey by far, it was not their first.
In 2014, Hunter carried Braden for 40 miles. Last year they walked 57 miles.
All of it, Hunter said, in the name of helping spread the word about disabilities like his brother's.
"Not just cerebral palsy — all disabilities," Hunter said.